Monday, October 5, 2015

the courage to walk

There's been a theme that's been running through my week - one book by Kundera about the unbearable lightness of being, two men who are part of my lives that I both love and cannot have, three men whom I know want to bed me but are attached to their girlfriends, and lastly, four hours of conversation with a friend on relationships in general.

It's given me pause to think about my relationships thus far, and take count of the lessons for last year and this year. It's after all, pretty much towards the end of the year and I've been fortunate to have loved, lost and love again. Part of my conversations with the above friend, revolved around the idea of settling down - why we both face men who are looking to have sex with people other than their partners.

They seemed the "ideal" - 2-4 years relationships, already purchased a BTO, some even bought engagement rings, and still...this happens. It's made me very pessimistic and woeful about the current state of our zeitgeist (spirit of our times) when it comes to relationships. Even my ex felt that "forever" was too forbidden, and impossible concept. That used to give me shivers, but now I can empathise where this mournful dream, fantasy, came from.

As much that it is hard to have hope about one's own partner - that they will remain faithful, to embrace the weight of the responsibility, and take joy in having someone to care for - it is also equally hard to walk away when that burden no longer becomes bearable, when that weight doesn't ground you but sink you.

It's not hard to imagine why someone would choose to cheat, and after being an almost-home wrecker myself, I can understand why men find comfort in the bosoms of their mistresses. Why that escape is something they yearn for. They chose something bigger than themselves, their family, children - and I have friends whose fathers walked out on the families, leaving the mother defenceless and alone to raise her own children, that scene is equally tragic. 

Does it have to be that way? Do we have to land ourselves into an entanglement, that incredible mess before we realise we are currently lead the lives we do not want. Kundera spoke about having only 1 life, and because of that, we have no basis of comparison - that life is not even a sketch because it stands for an outline of something, but when we don't even have a sample of our own lives to model, the idea of a sketch is meaningless. However, I do believe that our lives can be extrapolated, we can "see" and make intelligent predictions of our futures. We may jump to conclusions, but if self-fulfilling prophecies have any merit, if we choose to believe, we then become the very thing we believe in.

So be careful what you wish for.

I think the point really, is that at what point do walk away? I think with life's uncertainties, the foreboding feeling of spending an eternity alone - while most of our friends move on with life and their families is enough to keep most of us within an unhappy relationship. My best friend once asked me after my break up, "have you ever thought that maybe you're just not meant to find someone, and that's okay."

And that's okay.

Those 3 words struck me, and in some ways still gives me great sense of comfort. It's okay to be alone, or perhaps, it's okay to accept that we may not find someone now, next year, or ever - and there's nothing intrinsically wrong with that.

Just as not all of us can become millionaires, it is just as likely that not many of us can find a life-long partner, and even more rarely, find a partner whom we can love for a lifetime happily. It is just as likely that we can find our soulmate, but because we may not have the courage nor stamina to keep up with a relationship, we may also choose to walk away from the person who we will come to love for an eternity. We may come to love each other apart.

Two opposing thoughts: one the unbearable weight of a being caught in a prison of our own making, and the other, the ever-vastness of being adrift forever and ever...

Both require courage to make choices, very difficult and life altering choices for both ourselves and others. Both are not simple choices, both require some kind of a leap of faith to change fate, and both require large sacrifices.

It gives us pause.

That perhaps, happiness is not worth it, it is not worth breaking up families, it's not worth making our spouses cry, scar our children. Happiness - it's not worth the effort to put up a wedding, the whole charade we have to put in-front of our future in-laws, it's not worth crying our eyes out when we lost someone dear to us. 

Love is sacrifice, it calls for us to sacrifice others for ourselves, as much as we sacrifice ourselves for others. Love can come at a high price, and many stories we tell ourselves about love does not mention this enough. For this reason, I have always been cautious about who I love and till now I have not truly opened my heart because the pride of knowing we all wield and deal the power over someone, and conversely for someone to have that power over me, is a step I am not yet courageous enough to take.

But now, I am different - I can start to feels the wall come apart, that love is not all about power over someone's heart- but the ability to empower. Love empowers people, and once love stops being empowering, we must then have the courage to walk away. I am starting to see love (and relationships) in a different light, and with this paradigm shift, my pride starts to be less of an issue. I always had a large amount of pride, to always have to be right. However, when I start to see how loving someone - anyone - is about giving them the space to sometimes be wrong. It is sometimes necessary to teach them wrong thing to illustrate a concept we want someone to learn. It is not so much to "instruct" but to support them when they fall, for a deed given in when, is twice the favour.

As the Kentucky bourbon wanes while I finish this prose, I have a couple of parting thoughts.

The lies we tell others are often the lies we tell ourselves. Facing up to the truth is something we don't do enough. We should never face the truth as a form of necessity, but with courage that whatever the outcome is, we will be okay. We pack ourselves with so much frivolity - careers, money, fame - to keep us distanced from being hurt. We need to have the courage to walk away, whether it be the lives we are leading now, or the walk into the lives we are afraid to have. Love should empower those choices we make, and that agape, that unconditional expression of love, that bearable burden of responsibility of our choices should make us happy and we must also have the courage or choose differently when it no longer makes us who we are.

My life, should be better than my dreams. 

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